The resistance to beta-lactam and non-beta-lactam antibiotics of 133 nasopharyngeal isolates of Streptococcus pneumoniae recovered from December 1995 to February 1996 from children attending seven day-care centers in southwestern Greece was studied. Reduced susceptibility to one or more anti-microbial agents was found in 70 isolates (53%), as follows: penicillin, 17% intermediate, 12% resistant; cefotaxime, 10.5% intermediate, 1.5% resistant; trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, 8% intermediate, 35% resistant; chloramphenicol, 27% resistant; tetracycline, 29% resistant; and erythromycin/clindamycin, 19% resistant. Eighty-seven percent of penicillin-intermediate or -resistant strains belonged to serogroups/serotypes 19, 21, and 23. Fifty-six percent of the antibiotic-resistant pneumococci were multiply resistant, including serogroup 6 strains that were penicillin-susceptible but resistant to all non-beta-lactam drugs tested, as well as serogroup 23 strains resistant to penicillin, chloramphenicol, tetracycline, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. The high incidence of antibiotic-resistant pneumococci and the divergent and unique resistance patterns found in this study underline the need for global surveillance of S. pneumoniae to document the evolution and spread of resistant strains and to guide therapy.